University of Oulu

Resilience and the switch to distance learning : how the secondary school girls experienced the use of information technology during the COVID19 pandemic

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Author: Rainto, Saana1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
Pages: 93
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : S. Rainto, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-06-22
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Kinnula, Marianne
Reviewer: Kinnula, Marianne
Hartikainen, Heidi


In recent years, upper secondary education in Finland has undergone a plethora of changes that have increased the use of ICT in upper secondary education. Despite the general assumption that young people are digitally skilled, there is also a known digital divide, which at worst, will create a digital inequality. The coronavirus pandemic required a rapid response by global governments. As such, secondary education was shifted from traditional classrooms to virtual settings, which increased the use of ICT even more. Moreover, resilience has a well-established positive association with academic performance, and especially when facing adversities and overcoming them. Therefore, exploring the students’ experiences during the coronavirus pandemic through the lens of resilience was chosen.

The research questions were as follows: How is ICT used in upper secondary school during distance education? How did teenage girls studying in upper secondary school experience distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic? What kind of coping strategies did the teenage girls use to overcome the challenges faced when using ICT? What kind of factors of resilience are coming up when discussing the adversities related to the use of ICT in school?

This thesis used qualitative research methods. Semi-structured theme interviews were conducted to determine answers to the research questions. Coping strategies related to ICT-related challenges were categorised using Brief COPE by Carver (1997), whereas factors of resilience were analysed using the READ Scale (von Soest, Mossige, Stefansen & Hjemdal, 2010). The findings were further analysed using nexus analysis by Scollon & Scollon (2004).

Based on the qualitative analysis, the teenagers adapted well to distance learning. However, they were affected by their historical bodies. Reported challenges during distance education were related to teaching, communication, technology, environment, wellbeing, and examinations. In addition, all the students interviewed were analysed to possess many factors of resilience, although at different levels. For example, variation in personal competence, social resources, and family coherence came up. Regarding coping, the students were analysed to employ different coping strategies in similar situations. Moreover, distance education had an impact on which coping strategy to use. The most common coping strategy discussed were problem-focused coping. The use of coping was affected by, for example, access to social resources.

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